Network architectures for collaborative virtual reality have traditionally been dominated by client-server and peer-to-peer approaches, with peer-to-peer strategies typically being favored where minimizing latency is a priority, and client-server where consistency is key. With increasingly sophisticated behavior models and the demand for better support for haptics, we argue that neither approach provides sufficient support for these scenarios and, thus, a hybrid architecture is required. We discuss the relative performance of different distribution strategies in the face of real network conditions and illustrate the problems they face. Finally, we present an architecture that successfully meets many of these challenges and demonstrate its use in a distributed virtual prototyping application which supports simultaneous collaboration for assembly, maintenance, and training applications utilizing haptics.
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